Gloria Funcheon is originally from Kansas, USA, but moved to Tashkent, Uzbekistan, where she works for Mercy Corps as a Communications Specialist for a U.S. government-funded early childhood literacy development and nutrition program. She previously resided in London, where she completed her Master of Science in Development Studies from SOAS University of London as a Rotary Global Grant Scholar. Despite already having a Master in Russian, Eastern European, & Eurasian Studies from the University of Kansas and six years of non-profit work experience, Gloria wanted to further study the impact of vocational training programming on youth labor migration from Central Asia to Russia. Gloria worked for nearly three years as a Program Officer for Mercy Corps supporting a regional humanitarian and sustainable development programming portfolio in Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Georgia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. She previously worked for Save the Children and ACTED in Tajikistan overseeing grant administration for community, and especially women’s, economic development programming. She also worked as a consultant in Ukraine, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan on a U.S. Department of State funded educational exchange program. Traveling to over 30 cities across these countries, she oversaw the screening process for over 5,000 secondary school applicants, which included exams and interviews, and then ultimately conducted family briefings and a 4-day pre-departure orientation for selected candidates. Gloria is also deeply interested in civil society, youth, and democracy promotion in the former Soviet states and, to this end, has served as an international election monitor in Armenia, Moldova, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. As Head of Mission for the Danish youth NGO ‘Silba’, she led a multi-national team of 25 youth observers for a week-long observation mission in Skopje, North Macedonia.